Russia’s Impact on Inherent Resolve

Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Russia’s military presence in Syria will not change the US approach to Operation Inherent Resolve. Speaking to press during the defense ministerial in Brussels, Carter said the US will “continue to prosecute the counter-ISIL air campaign at the same pace and in the same battlespace as we have since it started in Syria,” even though Russia fired cruise missiles from ships in the Caspian Sea without warning, flown inside Turkish airspace, and flew within miles of US remotely piloted aircraft. “We will continue to support the moderate Syrian opposition. We will seek an agreement with the Russians on professional safety procedures for coalition pilots, and we will leave the door open for Russia to rejoin the track toward a political transition in Damascus,” said Carter. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said in an Oct. 8 statement he is “deeply troubled by reports that US aircraft have been diverted to avoid encountering Russian fighter aircraft in Syria.” He said the move “is just the latest example” of “weakness from the Obama Administration that will only embolden Vladimir Putin’s aggression.”